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Improving Quality

Pursuing the “Three Zeros” in Accidents, Waste and Complaints

Basic ConceptOn-site manufacturing supports quality

Recognizing that it is the fields of manufacturing development that supports quality, since fiscal 2006 the Sekisui Chemical Group has focused its efforts on innovation in production. Based on its belief that quality defects lead to higher costs arising from handling complaints or increased waste, we are trying to reduce costs by targeting the “three zeros” of complaints, accidents, and waste.

Quality ManagementSystems in each section reflect business characteristics

The Sekisui Chemical Group has developed quality control systems covering every process from production through product use by customers. Each section has developed a quality assurance system, and in each process we promote standards-based controls on a daily basis. In developing products and making improvements to quality, we conduct screening from a variety of perspectives, such as those of quality assurance and safety.

Quality assurance system

Review of Quality Assurance System

Following an update of the ISO 9001 standard in fiscal 2015, Sekisui Chemical embarked on a review of quality management systems (QMS) at each internal company and Group company in fiscal 2016. The focus of the review was simplifying QMS by streamlining systems that had become overly complex as a result of past additions and updates, making them easier to understand. We plan to reflect differences at each business site in the content of this new quality assurance system.

Formulating Three Quality GuidelinesMaintaining uniform quality control from development to sales

Undertaking uniform quality control throughout the value chain—from development, manufacturing, and sales—the Sekisui Chemical Group is working to improve the level of its quality control by formulating and issuing three guidelines: Development Guidelines for Strengthening Quality Assurance, Guidelines for Daily Management Activities, and Contract/Specification Guidelines.

Development Guidelines are aimed at preventing Basic Quality-related problems from occurring by predicting quality risks that can arise after commercialization. Guidelines for Daily Management Activities are a collection of basic guides to management on a daily basis that must be undertaken in manufacturing and post-development processes. Contract/Specification Guidelines were added in fiscal 2015 with the aim of reducing expanded compensation risks* related to product sales.

ガイドライン

Expanded compensation: Customers compensation in the case of product defects that extend beyond returns and exchanges to include compensation for processing/construction/items made with these products, and other related damage.

Design and Development SeminarsDevelopment Prevention Seminar and DR* Reviewer Training Seminar

Continuing from fiscal 2013, we held the Development Prevention Seminar aimed at acquiring effective prevention methods as well as the DR Reviewer Training Seminar to improve the skills of people who conduct DRs. Both seminars are based on the topic of preventing quality problems before they arise.

In fiscal 2016, we held Development Risk Prevention Seminars for the development division of the Tsukuba Site and the Hokkaido facilities of the Housing Company. In Hokkaido, concerns were raised about the coldness there, a major difference from the climate in Honshu. Moreover, when the seminar was held at the High Performance Plastics Company’s Musashi Plant, we reconfirmed the importance of predicting and identifying risks to quality by focusing on points of change in product functions. We plan to hold these seminars again in fiscal 2017.

* DR:Design Review

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Development Prevention Seminar DR Reviewer Training Seminar

DR Reviewer Training SeminarCS & Quality Seminar: Basic Qualities edition held during quality month

Since fiscal 2011 the CS & Quality Seminar: Basic Qualities Edition has been held during Quality Month every November with the goal of raising the level of Basic Qualities throughout the entire Sekisui Chemical Group. In fiscal 2016, the guest speaker was Mr. Hidetoshi Kumai from Ricoh Co., Ltd., who talked about the topic “TQM at Ricoh: Past, Present and Future.” He introduced initiatives in personnel training and case studies of activities that aimed to improve customer satisfaction in line with Ricoh’s TQM action guideline that “work is performed for the benefit of the customer.” Many of the people who attended the lecture said that they shared similar feelings and were able to learn more about recent topics.

Hidetoshi Kumai, Ricoh Co., Ltd., giving a lecture

Steady Penetration of Manufacturing Education and TrainingRebuilding Our Manufacturing Education System

Since fiscal 2013, the Sekisui Chemical Group has been rebuilding its employee grade-based training system for managers in production departments in order to spread knowledge of manufacturing throughout all levels, and to pass down the expertise of veteran technicians to younger employees. We offer 16 courses in the three fields of technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills.
A cumulative total of 2,252 employees had undertaken course up to fiscal 2016.

QC CertificationAcquisition of QC Certification*

The Sekisui Chemical Group also employs QC Certification* effectively to measure levels of quality knowledge, and as of the end of fiscal 2016, over 4,100 members of the Company had attained QC Certification.

QC Certification: A certification system conducted by the Japanese Standards Association and the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers and certified by the Japanese Society for Quality Control.
Figures show the total number of employees who have acquired QC Certification levels 1 through 3

Group KAIZEN Activities on a Global ScaleHolding the Group KAIZEN Activities* Award / presentations meetings annually

Group KAIZEN Activities are an initiative in which employees in each workplace form small groups to address various topics such as improvements in quality and productivity and increasing operational efficiency, and to take on various subjects through policy management. These activities have a track record of more than 50 years. They are under way at numerous business sites in Japan and around the world, centered on production companies. Once a year in January, presentations are made by the representative group in each area - Japan, North America/Mexico, China, Europe, and Asia / Oceania - to share information and help each other improve. In the 51th Sekisui Chemical Group KAIZEN Activities Presentation Meeting held in January 2017, a total of 19 representative groups (15 from Japan and four from other countries) made presentations. The proceedings were broadcast in real time to 15 business sites that notified us of their interest in advance. This meeting has become a valuable opportunity to deepen employee’s understanding of improvement activities, which was underscored by participants who stated “I was able to gain more details on announcement content,” and “I had a chance to exchange information and opinions with those working at other business sites and companies.”

Group KAIZEN Activities:Activities that began in 1966 as Quality Control (QC) groups and later evolved into small group activities before taking the form they have today

Maya Stary receives the special award on behalf of the S-LEC Market Creators team of SEKISUI S-LEC B.V.


Award name Site Group
Gold Prize Gold Prize SBS
<Judge’s comments>
I highly appreciated the company’s determination to relentlessly find the root cause, and the near completion of the ongoing story used as a model for the Group’s improvement activities.
Silver Prize Sekisui Medical Technology (China) Ltd. Shippujinrai
Shiga-Ritto Plant Kuri Ton Investigation Team
Sekisui Heim Kyushu Co., Ltd. Fair Weather Delivery Project

Efforts to Reduce Energy ConsumptionImproving production process quality by reducing energy use

With the intention of creating products with superior quality at a proper price (reduce loss-related costs), the Sekisui Chemical Group endeavors to reduce energy consumption in its production processes as a part of efforts to improve quality in line with its mission of helping customers achieve their green procurement standards. In addition to reducing energy consumption compared with prevailing levels, we are also rethinking the basic way that energy should be used in the future. Aiming to consume the least amount of energy necessary, we are reassessing each production process at the design stage to cut projected energy loss. In fiscal 2016, the Sekisui Chemical Group reduced energy consumption through activities to improve energy conservation at its domestic production sites by about 3.5%. At its overseas business sites, like in Japan, the Sekisui Chemical Group is working to conserve energy using model business sites for reference with the objective of instilling autonomous energy conservation activities at each business site.

Quality Management at SuppliersStudy Sessions Held with Suppliers to Collaboratively Improve Quality

At the Housing Company, we held “why analyze why classes” and “human error prevention classes” with suppliers in a bid to improve the quality of the parts and materials they supply. A total of 95 people from 37 companies participated in the classes, which were held in the Hokkaido, Chubu, Kinki and Chugoku/Shikoku regions with the objective of preventing defects and reoccurrences of defects at the manufacturing sites of our suppliers.

During the classes, we confirmed the effectiveness of delving deep in “why analyze why classes” for figuring out the root causes of quality defects. To prevent human errors for occurring, we shared information about the importance of creating rules and sticking to them for clarifying vague parts of operational procedures. These classes served as an opportunity to reconfirm the essentials of manufacturing high-quality products, while growing together with our suppliers.


Quality study session